This article was written by Phineas Upham
French toast, which has also been called “Poor Knights of Windsor,” isn’t something you can find on a menu in France. What you’re looking for is something called “pain perdu,” which translates to “lost bread.”
It is a sweet treat that was known to the ancient Romans, but it was popularized in the Middle Ages. Apicious, the Roman cook, referred to it as “another sweet treat,” but it was a staple in European kitchens throughout the medieval periods.
In ancient Rome, where the cookbook was a staple of the rich, recipes called for white bread. This would have been the finest and most expensive bread at the time, and the recipe demanded that the crusts be removed. Some recipes even called for expensive spices and almond milk to add to the ingredients.
In the Middle Ages, cooks would use stale hunks of bread to make the treat in an attempt to use every bit of food in the home. They knew that stale bread could be made more palatable if milk or eggs were added to moisten the dough.
French toast is a bit like soup, in the sense that every culture has some variation of the food. In Italy, for example, French toast was called “supped dorate,” or the gilded sippets, and it was served alongside peacock meat. The most well-known ancient recipe called for rosewater, which is still not common practice but it produces a delectable dish.
About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position,